Leading in to the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship the host committee
has formed the Playmakers group, bringing together business leaders from
across B.C. to serve as event ambassadors and strategic advisors, as well
as serving as a connection to local partners and businesses in Vancouver
The Playmakers will help share the message from Hockey Canada and the host
committee, and support initiatives around community engagement and the
benefits of hosting the World Juniors in their backyard.
This month, HockeyCanada.ca sat down with Jim Lightbody, president and CEO
of the B.C. Lottery Corporation (BCLC).
Q: Why is it important for you and BCLC to be involved in the 2019 IIHF
World Junior Championship?
JL: BCLC has a long history of supporting amateur sports. When we were
created in 1985, the province dedicated revenues from BCLC every year to
support sports across B.C. In fact, more than $30 million in community
gaming grants were dedicated by the provincial government to more than 784
different sport organizations so they can do the great work that they do.
Personally, I’ve always been involved in sports, and it’s great to see how
sports can strengthen communities and also help youth reach their
Q: What is the economic importance of the World Juniors to British
JL: It goes across the province, and not just to Victoria and Vancouver,
because we’re going to be hosting events in the Interior as well. So the
millions of dollars that will be generated through the hospitality
industry, and the hotel stays, sponsorships, and entertainment are going to
be great for our province. The true impact though is more than just
economic. I know that many young kids around our province are going to be
watching the tournament, and hopefully head outside to play some ball
hockey, or who knows, maybe if we get a cold snap, they may even be playing
on some frozen lakes somewhere.
Q: Why are Vancouver and Victoria the right cities to host the World
JL: First of all, it’s great to have it anywhere in Canada. As we know, the
World Juniors has become a Boxing Day tradition in Canada, and it’s a great
way for us to celebrate the holiday season. Vancouver and Victoria have a
long history of putting on some outstanding world-class events. Whether
it’s the Olympics or the world curling championship, the Vancouver and
Victoria communities always step up with a host of great volunteers, and I
know the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship is going to be no different.
I’m looking forward to not only a great event, but also some real fun for
the communities around this province.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish with the Playmakers group?
JL: I hope we can support this championship, and help make it the best
ever. All of us have different backgrounds, different expertise, different
connections and networks that we can lean on to assist each other, and help
this tournament really be successful. We rely on volunteers for tournaments
like this to be successful, and hopefully we can all work together as a
team to reach our goal, which is to make this an outstanding event for B.C.
Q: What is your connection with hockey?
JL: Growing up in Victoria, we didn’t always have the opportunity to skate
outdoors, so actually in the winter I was a soccer player, and in the
summer I was a lacrosse player. And my dad didn’t necessarily want to get
up at four in the morning to take his kid to play hockey, so I was never
able to be a hockey player. But I did grow up with a couple that I played
soccer and lacrosse with, the Courtnall Brothers as well as a guy named
Torrie Robertson. They made it to the NHL, so I kind of lived vicariously
through them. And now as the board chair of the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame, I
can see how hockey has really strengthened the various communities around
the province. We’re inducting Cliff Ronning this year, we inducted Mark
Recchi just recently, and getting to know those guys, you can see how they
really relied on their family and friends in their community to make their
hockey dream come true. Now they’re all giving back, and that’s the thing I
really appreciate about hockey players; they also know the value of team,
and know the value of giving back to their communities.